Why do an Alternatives Assessment?

Alternatives Assessment (AA): process for identifying and comparing potential chemical and non-chemical alternatives that can be used as substitutes to replace chemicals or technologies of high concern (IC2 Guide).

Performing an Alternatives Assessment prevents regrettable substitutions and saves money.  By evaluating the inherent hazards of alternative technologies, we can identify inherently safer alternatives and avoid inherently more hazardous alternatives, protecting human and environmental health and getting things right the first time.

Without this assessment, hazardous alternatives may be adopted, causing harm to human and environmental health.  These hazardous alternatives will likely be the future target of regulations, and require phase-outs and replacements.  As all formulators and manufacturers know, reformulating and redesigning is expensive and time consuming.  By identifying the safer alternatives, AA helps formulators and manufacturers avoid that process.

Northwest Green Chemistry is applying the Washington State AA Guide, which is based on the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) Guide, to antifouling boat paints.  In 2011, the Washington State Legislature passed legislation (Chapter 70.300 RCW, Recreational Water Vessels-Antifouling Paints) requiring the phase out of copper-based anti-fouling paints on recreational vessels less than 65 feet in length by 2020.  The Washington State Department of Ecology is working with NGC to identify and evaluate alternatives to copper antifouling boat paints.